Personal Emergency Response Systems Program
A significant element enabling frail seniors to live independently in their own homes is the capacity to deal with medical emergencies. The Personal Emergency Response System Program (PERS) fills this need, providing immediate twenty-four hour access to community medical and emergency services. The system uses a communicator at home and a portable “HELP” button to send an electronic message to an emergency response center where trained personnel initiate emergency response procedures. In 2010, PERS served 363 eligible seniors in Hillsborough County.
SNHS received a grant from the UNH Institute on Disability in 2008 to create an initiative designed to support the growing number of older adults living in Nashua who may need services to remain in their own homes and as part of the community. In order to address the needs of frail elders who may be housebound and isolated, SNHS created a partnership in Nashua incorporating the successes of the Seniors Count model in Manchester, NH. The first phase of the Seniors Count initiative began in 2009 with the analysis of relevant demographics and the identification of current services available to seniors. During this phase, a collaborative of 30+ area human service agencies, businesses and seniors identified the community assets and the barriers that exist in providing services needed by frail, at-risk seniors in the community.
North Peterborough Family Program
The North Peterborough Family Program (NPFP) has two components which serve the greater Peterborough area. The first component is a collaborative effort designed to reduce risk factors and provide positive experiences for the children and families living in lowincome units of Prescott Hill and Riverview Housing complexes. The NPFP provides a safe place for children to participate in age and developmentally appropriate activities designed to support the strengths of a family to the level they participate. The after-school program includes homework support, computer use, supervision, and access to supplies for school projects, access to library books, and seasonal outdoor activities. There is also a summer program which includes recreational activities and opportunities for field trips. In 2009, 149 children were served. The second component, Family Support Services, collaborates closely with The Family Center of Greater Peterborough, Creating Positive Change and local towns. The program develops linkages and partnerships necessary to determine ways of supporting healthy families in Western Hillsborough County, reinforcing existing family strengths and helping families strive toward self-sufficiency. A primary goal of this component is to mobilize community resources needed to stabilize difficult family living situations so that the family may more easily pursue their education, employment and financial goals. 60 families were served through direct programming, while dozens of additional households were assisted through referrals and advocacy.
Transportation is a significant issue in rural areas of the county, especially for low-income, elderly, and handicapped individuals. Arranging for simple trips to the grocery store, pharmacy or doctor’s office can be a major concern for members of this population. To alleviate the problem, SNHS provides a handicapped accessible van for use in the western area of Hillsborough County. The original funding agent for this vehicle was the NH Department of Transportation. The van is stationed at our Greenville Falls elderly housing complex and has provided more than 15,000 passenger trips since 1997.
Long Term Disaster Recovery
The last several years have seen significant weather “events” which caused a great deal of property destruction, and had a significant long-lasting impact on the lives of hundreds of families statewide. The Mother’s Day flood of 2006, the April Nor’easter flood of 2007, tornadoes, and the ice storm of December 2009, all required immediate assistance in the immediate aftermath, and case management from the Long Term Disaster Recovery Team. This team helps to strengthen area-wide recovery coordination in Hillsborough County by sharing information, simplifying resident access to services and fiscal resources and helping to resolve cases of those affected by these disasters. SNHS is proud to be a part of the statewide network of Community Action Agencies assisting families in their struggle to recover from natural disasters.